BROC­COLI & broc­col­ini

It’s one of the most mis­un­der­stood veges, but store and cook broc­coli prop­erly and you will find plenty to love. Here’s how to rock the broc.

Dish - - MAKE THE CUT -

Most peo­ple like car­rots and beans, but men­tion broc­coli and eye­brows of­ten shoot up. What is it that turns peo­ple off broc­coli? I think it’s the pong – that sul­phury odour broc­coli emits when it’s no longer fresh, or when it’s over­cooked, kept cov­ered af­ter cook­ing, (Pawh! That’s a bad one), or slowly re­heated.

Broc­coli is chilled in icy wa­ter im­me­di­ately af­ter har­vest­ing to lower its core tem­per­a­ture and pre­vent it wilt­ing and dis­colour­ing. When buy­ing broc­coli it is your job to give it the same love; get it into the fridge as soon as pos­si­ble, but be aware that it is eth­yl­ene-sen­si­tive; this means other items in your fridge pro­duc­ing eth­yl­ene can af­fect its fresh­ness, so best to cook it as soon as you can.

Lemon adds a nice note of bright­ness to un­adorned green veg, but it in­ter­feres with the sharp green colour. Keep lemon for the table, rather than squirt­ing it over cooked broc­coli.

Re­heat­ing broc­coli? It CAN be okay, as long as it wasn’t over­cooked in the first place. But I can’t prom­ise that lit­tle sul­phury whiffs won’t es­cape here and there if cook­ing broc­coli in a quiche, a pasta sauce, or riskier still, in soup. Broc­coli soup can be dire. I don’t make it.

Poor broc­coli, so much neg­a­tiv­ity dumped on it, when it’s one of the most spec­tac­u­lar veg­eta­bles. It’s not strongly flavoured, it doesn’t stick to your teeth like spinach, it bright­ens any dish, it’s easy to cook, has a nice crunch, and it hap­pily goes with but­ter or oil, strong or melty cheeses, gar­lic, chillies and spices, ba­con and pancetta, oys­ter sauce, sriracha sauce and soy. It can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried, stir-fried and roasted. And it’s cheap.

Broc­coli and broc­col­ini are nu­tri­ent-packed. Sci­en­tists have found the phy­to­chem­i­cals they con­tain can in­hibit cer­tain can­cers, plus they’re a valu­able source of cal­cium and vi­ta­min C.

The leaves con­tain more beta-carotene than the flo­rets, so try to in­clude them in cooked dishes.

“Broc­coli is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar veg­eta­bles”

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